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Development grant continues
WSU supports rural conservation in Malawi, Africa
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011
By Nella Letizia, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences
PULLMAN, Wash. - A Washington State University project, created to improve the livelihoods of farmers in rural Malawi, Africa and sustain their natural resources, will continue after five years with a contribution of $250,000 from the Altria Group of Richmond, Va.
The Sustainable Rural Enterprises and Livelihoods (SURELIVES) project began in July 2006 through a partnership with WSU International Research and Development (IRD) and nonprofit Total LandCare (TLC). SURELIVES helps Malawian farms transition from subsistence agriculture to market-based, self-sufficient farming.
As a state, Malawi faces challenges like deforestation; food, water and energy shortages; environmental degradation; limited access to inputs, credit, capital and market information; and poor knowledge of new technologies.
Through improved practices and better management and conservation of natural resources, SURELIVES aims to increase the production and income of small-scale farmers. Since its start, SURELIVES has served almost 555 villages and more than 25,000 households in the impoverished region.
"This has been a true partnership with the Altria Group and Total LandCare where we have been able to enhance the lives of so many Malawians through sustainable resource development and enterprise activities,” said Chris Pannkuk, WSU IRD director.
The project has accomplished the following over the last five years:
- Around 2,900 tree nurseries were built and 8.8 million trees were planted.
- More than 300 hectares of land are in conservation agriculture programs.
- Around 740 treadle pumps were distributed for small-scale irrigation and 60 shallow wells with hand pumps were installed to provide safe water.
- Nearly 4,000 households are using energy-saving woodstoves to reduce wood consumption.
TLC was founded in 2000 by WSU faculty member Trent Bunderson and Malawian agricultural scientist Zwide Jere. Today it operates not only in Malawi but also in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.
One of the world’s largest tobacco corporations, the Altria Group is the parent company of Philip Morris USA, John Middleton Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., Philip Morris Capital Corp. and Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
For more information about the SURELIVES project, visit http://bit.ly/surelives. For details about the Altria Group, visit www.altria.com.